Rendered Fat Content

Homeless 0-71: Homefull

melted rims
A short time after a wildfire burned his home, a man explained that several of his fellow fire victims were suing their insurance companies. He’d volunteered to participate in a citizen’s watchdog group to oversee the claims processing, and had found no evidence that anyone had much of a case against their insurers. “The problem,” he concluded, “is that the dissatisfied seemed to believe they’d purchased home insurance, when they’d actually insured their houses. There’s no such thing as home insurance.”

A policy might reasonably reimburse for the fair market value of possessions, but nobody values their possessions by anything like market metrics. I’m attached to my collection of old Rolling Stone magazines, even though I haven’t looked at them in over thirty years. I imagine that they must probably be worth plenty, though the market would likely value them as recyclable. They are not line-item listed on any insurance policy.

This man described how he’d found the goblets, keepsakes from his wedding, melted into tear-like drops on what was left of the hearth, but he insisted that the fire didn’t touch the fond memories those keepsakes represented; and might have enhanced their emotional impact for him. He could still access the feeling even without the prompting keepsake.

Something similar to house losing invades when forced to move out of what really felt like home. We’d forgotten that the very best anyone ever starts with might be a house. Home happens in the interaction between house and life, and probably should not be mistaken as a property of any property, but one of relationship.

”I finally understood that I’d just lost a house,” the fire victim said, “and that nothing like fire could even scorch a home.” This man was exhibiting homefulness, a word I might be coining for this purpose, but one needing casting. In the shock and awwww of discovering that we’d have to move, a disempowering sense of homelessness surrounded me. Then, within this vacuum, I began searching for a replacement, when the home I grieved for and the home I sought as a replacement could not be what I sought. I’d not lost what I was looking for and could not hope to find any place to replace what I’d never inhabited in the first place.

Homefulness might be that cocky sense that my past belongs to me, inviolate, and that my future can’t help but be well-grounded as a direct result. Homefulness springs from in-here, and cannot be suckled from out-there. People can tell, I think, when one goes looking for a house without this sense of homefulness. They can smell it on me.

And people looking to rent out a house would rather invite someone with homefulness to sign the lease than someone hopelessly hoping to find a home there.

Today, with the clear option of another seventy one homeless days staring me down, I stumbled upon a simple resolution. If I switch one little letter, homeless becomes hopeless. If, instead, I just switch out the ass end of homeless, trade in -less for -full, I derive homefull, which fits a damned sight better than either homeless or hopeless ever could.

Unsticks me, too. No more moping around failing to find the home I always already had and could not lose, no matter what I do. Filling up instead on the recognition that home might actually be wherever my heart finds itself.

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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